WRDW preserves video archives through UGA libraries

Submitted by cleveland on

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

(News 12 First at 5)

ATHENS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Over the past 64 years, many of you or your family have appeared on News 12, as well as countless stories and events. All those memories are now being preserved for future generations.

The WRDW archives show everything from old anchor signoffs, to James Brown interviews, to Masters coverage decades back. Now, we’ve donated those tapes to the University of Georgia in hopes of preserving all our history.

Margaret Compton is a media archivist at UGA. Her job is to keep these cherished records safe for years to come.

“As stations have been saving their tape, that really compares to a family's home movies. The home movies of Augusta are at the TV station,” Compton explained the value, both educational and sentimental, of these ¾” tapes.

To preserve video tape and film for future generations it needs to be in a climate controlled environment. Our garage at our North Augusta location is definitely not that!

“Tape is particularly susceptible to ‘sticky shed syndrome’. It's just the way the magnetic medium detaches from the base.”

Because of that risk, each box we had in-house here at News 12 has been loaded and barcoded – all ready for the trip to its new home at UGA.

We got a first-hand look as the tapes left our vans, and found their way into the nice, cool vault.

“You're capturing stories on a daily basis, and so our job is to preserve those stories and to make them available to people in the future,” said the Director of Brown Media Archives at UGA, Ruta Abolins.

This vault is home to books, documents, film and video tape. Abolins knows the importance of keeping these archives safe.

“It's really important to preserve local history, especially moving image and sound.”

At 30,000 square-feet, 50 degrees and 30% humidity – the Special Collections Library is our tapes’ new home away from home. The library opened in 2012, and houses news-film and home movies from all over Georgia, dating back to around 1917.

So how’s it all organized? And how can we find what we’re looking for? Well, it’s definitely not alphabetical.

“We link the item barcode – to the shelf barcode.”

Sports and news from News 12’s years past can now all be found on one of 32 shelves in the library so students, documentarians, and generations to come will always be able to push play on our history.


Want to learn more about the Special Collections Libraries? CLICK HERE for all the information from the University of Georgia Libraries.

CLICK HERE to check out WRDW’s News Film Collection within the library.

You can watch the clip here: